Recording for Aretha Franklin's new album begins in Detroit

New album features Stevie Wonder, Franklin's granddaughter

DETROIT – The Queen of Soul is back in the recording studio, and she invited Local 4 cameras inside.

Aretha Franklin is teaming up with Stevie Wonder for her brand-new album, which is being recorded in Detroit.

Background singers laid down vocals on Franklin's take on a Marvin Gay classic. Franklin's granddaughter, Victorie Franklin, 17, is also singing on the album.

"Victorie is a high school student, a lovely young lady, and she aspires to a singer, which is wonderful," Aretha Franklin said. "She can pick up the mantle when I sit down."

Victorie Franklin will be featured on the album singing the classic "Mary, Did You Know?" There's no time for her to be nervous as her grandmother coaches her along the way.

"My grandmother likes to give me a lot of opportunities and give me moments to learn and get more involved in the music industry," Victorie Franklin said.

She said she used to go to her grandmother's shows when she was young, and she had an interest in being on stage and singing.

Even though her grandmother is the Queen of Soul, this is Victorie Franklin's first time in a recording studio. But with Aretha Franklin guiding her career, it certainly won't be her last.

"It's actually really amazing that I get to look up to somebody like that," Victorie Franklin said. "I get pointers and sometimes lessons and I get to learn from the best."

Aretha Franklin said the upcoming album doesn't have a title yet, but she and Stevie Wonder are going to start recording in April.

"Stevie's coming in. He's going to bring some new music for me, productions, and he's going to write. He's going to produce," Aretha Franklin said. "Jamie Foxx is coming in. I've got options."

She said Foxx is also looking for "some really good things" for the album in Budapest while he makes a film there.

In addition to "Mary, Did You Know?" the album will include "What's Going On?" which includes Aretha's son, Eddie Franklin, as a backup singer.

The album is scheduled to be released in September, Franklin said.

Franklin said, along with an array of other producers, "I'll be producing and writing myself. I haven't done that in a long time. It's just going to be me and my piano on some things."

Franklin said she loves recording in Detroit, which is her hometown.

"Where would be better?" she said. "Right here, not that far from my home. I dash right over (to the studio) and do it."

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About the Author:

Evrod Cassimy is the morning anchor for Local 4 News Today. He joined WDIV in August of 2013. He is an award winning journalist and a six-time Emmy Award nominee. Evrod was born in Michigan but grew up in the Chicagoland area.